Who said that Kazan is 1000 years old?
Fayaz Khuzin, the leading research officer of the Republic Tatarstan History Institution of the Academy of Science, Doctor of History, Correspondent Member of the Republic Tatarstan Academy of Science:
In 2004 the expedition that carries out archaeological excavations in the Kazan Kremlin, celebrated its 10-th anniversary. In 1994 in the Kazan Kremlin there was founded the museum-reserve; there began restoration works and excavations as well. At first these excavations were not purposeful. It’s not a secret that the ground of the Kremlin is steeped in our history, history of Tatars and Russians, and other peoples of the Middle Volga region…
Unfortunately, in 1994 suddenly passed away Alfred Khasanovich Khalikov, who already in 1970-es worked on the question of the age of Kazan, and as it seemed, he proved that Kazan is 800 years old. Airat Sitdikov, who during these years turned from student into the candidate of science, and I, decided to continue this work. Automatically there appeared a question: was Alfred Khasanovich right, thinking that Kazan is 800 years old? A lot of scientists at that period believed that Kazan is much younger – they thought it might be 600, perhaps 700, but by no means 800 years old! Of course in 1994 the problem of the date wasn’t so acute: despite the fact that we began to find objects of the pre-Mongolian period (12-13-th centuries), there were too few finds to write about it. Even in 1997 I was sure that the city is 800 years old. After all, I am a pupil of Khalikov, I deeply respect and love my teacher, and I couldn’t believe that Kazan is so old!
Still in 1997 during the excavation works Airat Sitdikov found the so-called “Czech coin”. We failed to determine its origin at once, but it was clear that it was foreign, and was it really a coin? Perhaps it was a lead seal or something else? Gradually we found out that it was a Czech coin of a very early period… Before we came to this conclusion, the coin had been studied for nearly two years.
Since 1997 our researches became more purposeful in their nature. As we have already started this work, we had to determine and prove the age of Kazan. But in order to do it we needed archaeological and documentary resources. Usually the age of ancient and medieval Russian town was determined by old annals where they were mentioned for the first time. But we had almost nothing. The only written resource was “History of Kazan” (about 300 copies) – there was mentioned the year 1177. Alfred Khasanovich relied on this date…
However, when “History of Kazan” was studied by Moscow professors – Dobrodomov, Kuchkin, it turned out that this source was unreliable. So we had the only source of information – archaeology. But it’s only in semblance easy to prove the age of Kazan with the help of archaeological finds. For instance, you found a coin or other finds and that means you know the date. It is not so. You can’t state the date by finds only. Finds – is just the beginning of work.